If you enjoy reading Electric Literature, join our mailing list! We’ll send you the best of EL each week, and you’ll be the first to know about upcoming submissions periods and virtual events.


“Songs for Girls Who Are Also Cats” is the soundtrack to my life, but it’s also inspired by all the amazing women I’ve had the opportunity to work with this past year on my performance project Hello Selfie. Hello Selfie is about women, the gaze, and the ways in which women’s bodies and emotions are commodified and objectified in our society. I was particularly inspired by the recent Hello Kitty fiasco, in which hello kitty’s identity as a girl and cat threw everyone into a state of confusion and terror. I think being a girl is about constantly evoking that state.

This is for: Augusta Gail, Aurora Pringle, Christiana Laine, Anna Dewey Greer, Lauren Eggert-Crowe, Jessie Askinazi, Jessica Nicole Collins, Tina Stormberg, Peggy Noland, Labanna Babalon, Kelani Nichole, Emily Raw, Monica McClure, Jennifer Tamayo, Monica Mirabelle, Leah Schrager, Leah Aron, Jenny Zhang, Andrea Crespo, Elizabeth Mputu, Grace Miceli, Laura Marie Marciano, Genevieve Belleavau, Elena Kanagy-Loux.

1. Lady Gaga — Boys, Boys, Boys

Gaga likes boys as much as I do.

2. Taylor Swift — Wildest Dreams

I like how she wants this boy to remember her in her dress, and how she plans to haunt his dreams forever like a banshee.

3. Lana Del Rey — Once Upon a Dream

Leave it to Lana to take my favorite Disney song, about my favorite princess — the one who just sleeps all day — and make it as melancholic as the fairy tale really is.

4. Chorus of Stray Cats in My Yard

My former neighbor was an alcoholic who rode a motorcycle and yelled at the bushes and sometimes at me but she also had a big heart and would feed these stray cats in the alley who were always fucking and reproducing. Sometimes when I would go outside all I would hear was this chorus of meows from scrappy kittens. They kept reproducing until the city came and took them away.

5. Le Tigre — Much Finer

This song is about being a feminist and being depressed.

6. The Donnas — Forty Boys in Forty Nights

Eating junk food, doing a new boy every night — The Donnas should be called The Buddhas.

7. The Lunachicks — Spork

I like this song because it’s about an instrument that is not a fork or a spoon, just like hello kitty is not a girl or a cat.

8. Beyonce — Why Don’t You Love Me?

I love all of her outfits in this music video, and her mascara tears. Rolling around in curlers, performing sadness.

9. Cibo Matto — Know Your Chicken

Girl cats know their chicken.

10. Tori Amos — Bachelorette

You live alone now and you cry sometimes. You’re a car girl, you’re a star girl, he’s at the door. There’s a window.


— Kate Durbin is a Los Angeles-based artist and writer, whose books include E! Entertainment and The Ravenous Audience. Her most recent performance is Hello Selfie, performed first for LA’s Perform Chinatown, then in collaboration with Transfer Gallery in NYC.

Photo by Jessie Askinazi

More Like This

Our Favorite Essays about Queer Pop Culture

The “Riverdale” thirst-trap, the Swamp Thing as a gay avatar, and more

Jun 24 - Alexandria Juarez

Hanif Abdurraqib Celebrates Black Performance and Black Joy in “A Little Devil in America”

The author on the generation-spanning power of a Soul Train line

May 27 - Leah Johnson

How to Be a Terrible No-Good African Daughter

Figuring out how to live and write as the child of Nigerian immigrants, to the dulcet strains of Toto

May 11 - Freda Epum
Thank You!